Hong Kong is hosting the Formula E season opener for the second time. The organizers expect a total turnout of more than 40,000 spectators on both race days this year and have long-term plans for the electric racing series. “We want to make our event the Monaco of Formula E,” says Alan Fang, CEO of Formula E Racing (Hong Kong) Ltd.
The press center in Hong Kong is bursting at the seams as well. More than 500 members of the media have accredited themselves for the Formula E season opener.
There is hardly another paddock in the world delivering pictures at night as spectacular as the one in the Hong Kong harbor. This year, photographers can look forward to even better photo subjects. In parallel to the Formula E race, a new version of the famous “A Symphony of Lights” multimedia show is celebrating its premiere along the skyline of the Asian metropolis.
Daniel Abt and Lucas di Grassi used the Chinese popular sport of tai chi to gear up for the Formula E season opener. Hong Kong’s only tai-chi teacher inducted the two Audi campaigners into the secrets of the martial art that millions of Chinese as well as people around the world practice primarily for relaxation and meditation.
The local Audi importer used the opportunity of the Formula E season opener for the Hong Kong premiere of the new Audi RS 5 Coupé (combined fuel consumption in l/100 km: 8.7; combined CO2 emissions in g/km: 197). Celebrity guests at the Audi Sport party at the China Merchant Warf Pier on Friday night included the two Audi Formula E drivers Daniel Abt and Lucas di Grassi.
For Wolfgang Ullrich, the Hong Kong E-Prix is a special event, as these will be the last two races before Audi’s longstanding head of motorsport enters retirement. Ullrich had handed over his duties to his successor, Dieter Gass, as farback as in January.
Ernst Moser is visiting Formula E in Hong Kong as well. The team principal of Audi Sport Team Phoenix from the DTM specifically scheduled a business meeting in Asia so that he is able to watch the season opener of the electric racing series.
The Audi e-tron FE04 cars can be seen in Hong Kong for the first time sporting their final liveries. Following the presentation in Neuburg and the pre-season tests at Valencia, a few more details were changed. They include the visual design of the wheels of the electric race cars. Daniel Abt is now driving with red and title defender Lucas di Grassi with green stripes. The different colors are meant to make it easier for spectators to distinguish the cars.
Audi factory driver and winner of the 24 Hours of Nürburgring Nico Müller chauffeured the footballers from the international top-flight club in the Audi R8 LMS sports car across the circuit north of Barcelona. Other players experienced a ride alongside local hero Jordi Gené in the Audi RS 3 LMS. The fast laps in the race cars were the highlight of the car handover to the Spanish football club. Guided by instructors, the stars had previously obtained a first-hand impression of the performance and technology of the sportiest models of the brand with the four rings.
The RS models from Audi Sport have a tradition of being highly regarded by the footballers. Lionel Messi, Luis Suárez and Gerard Piqué selected the Audi RS 6 Avant (combined fuel consumption in l/100 km: 9.6; combined CO2 emissions in g/km: 223) as their personal company cars. Another popular model from the RS family is the new Audi RS 3 Sportback (combined fuel consumption in l/100 km: 8.4–8.3; combined CO2 emissions in g/km: 192–189) favored by a total of five players including Ousmane Dembélé, Sergi Roberto and Samuel Umtiti. Sergio Busquets opted for the Audi R8 Coupé V10 plus (combined fuel consumption in l/100 km: 12.3–11.4; combined CO2 emissions in g/km: 287–272) which, delivering 610 hp, is the most powerful Audi model in the team. Clearly the front runner in the players’ ranking is the Audi Q7 (combined fuel consumption in l/100 km: 7.6–7.2; combined CO2 emissions in g/km: 199–189). Nearly half of the squad will be enjoying the services of the spacious SUV.
The handover of the new company cars was also attended by Guillermo Fadda, Head of Audi Spain, and the Vice President of FC Barcelona, Jordi Cardoner. The cooperation between Audi and the five-time Champions League winner has existed since as far back as 2006.
The original start house of the superstars, professional timekeeping and a finish arch just like in the World Cup: The Audi quattro Ski Cup makes participants feel as if they were competing in a World Cup race themselves. This weekend, the series will embark on a tour of four Alpine countries for the third time. Ten events, each featuring a race on a giant slalom course, are on the calendar. The best athletes will qualify for the finale in Kitzbühel from March 23 to 25.
The field of entrants is made up of Audi customers, invited by regional partners, and public participants. About 3,100 athletes took part in the competitions last year. While the inaugural season started with two venues, ten illustrious locations will be hosting the events in the next four months: Obergurgl, St. Moritz, St. Anton am Arlberg, Verbier, Megève, Cortina d’Ampezzo, Kitzbühel, Alta Badia, Davos and Madonna di Campiglio. Registration is possible at www.audiquattroskicup.com.
At the finale, a renowned skiing legend will join the participants as team captain. Furthermore, in addition to competing in the individual categories, the amateurs will be pitted against each other in a team event. This competition will be about winning the prestigious nations’ trophy.
The “amateur series with a World Cup feeling” took cues from the Audi quattro Cup for golfers. Since its launch about 25 years ago, more than a million amateurs around the world have participated in this tournament series. When the skiers start their season this weekend, the golfers will be selecting the winner in their world finale in Mexico.